Posted by: kurtsh | May 13, 2016

COMMENTARY: A word about “Bedlam”, the Microsoft employee card game

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Those of you who’ve been following me for a while know that I don’t write commentaries on this blog very often but I’m taking the time to write a quick gushing post about a Microsoft card game that’s come out called, “Bedlam”… because it’s just that good.

WHAT’S “BEDLAM”?
Bedlam is a card game named after an incident that occurred in the mid-90’s (Yes, I was there) that involved an email that went out to 20,000 people in the company via an Exchange Distribution List entitled, “Bedlam DL3”.  Enough people “replied all” to the Bedlam distribution list that the original email targeted that it caused what was essentially the first “email reply storm” on an Exchange mail system.  The reference to Bedlam is essentially a test of how old school a Blue Badge you are.

The game itself was created by a Microsoft employee and is sold in the Microsoft Company Store in boxed form. One of the reasons I’m writing this post is that you’ll be hard pressed to find ANY information on the game anywhere.  It’s been sort of an inside joke at Microsoft for a while, where people have played it during breaks on campus or with coworker friends at home.  Or in one instance, as a fundraiser for Microsoft’s Giving Campaign. (Which raised $20,000!)

WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Gameplay works similar to Cards Against Humanity where one person plays a black card with a blank to fill in and all other players have to play white cards to “fill in the blank”.  The winner is the card assessed as the ‘best’ answer by the player that played the black card.

Here’s some of the cards in the game.  I’ll let it speak for itself:

imageThese are some of the tamer cards.  I chose to deliberately not show some of the cards that might get me in trouble. Smile

It’s loaded with Microsoft internal references and for any Blue Badge that’s been at the company for a while, you’ll be in stitches in no time.  Especially the references to HR, Legal, & Standards of Business Conduct.  OMG, those cards are winners.

imageWHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Here’s my copy. And you know what’s awesome?  There’s NO information about the game on the box itself – not even on the rims.  There’s not even a bar code.  The front cover is all that’s written on the box.

Employees should recognize the faux Company Store sticker as well as the obligatory EULA for the game.  Which is awesome, especially because of the ‘nuclear facility’ reference which some old folk will recognize.

WHERE DO I GET IT?
If you are a Blue Badge, you can get it from the Company Store in Building 92.  Check the Bedlam Yammer Group for availability since it sells out quickly.

Alternatively, I think you can actually buy a copy yourself from the Game Crafter, where the original development was published.  You’ll notice that it’s entitled “RC” which of course stands for Release Candidate, but FYI the term’s usage is another inside joke as the RC is actually the RTM. #lol

And K.C. is building Service Packs to extend the game.  I’m not kidding:  There’s even an expansion pack specifically for the Operating Systems Group.


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